Saturday, 31 March 2012
A huge thanks to Simon who contacted me on the early bay forum and offered us a choice of two rear bumpers, one a bit scabby and the other a bit dented. Simon's garage was a veritable Aladdin's den of early bay parts and the guy owns three buses and a beetle and gave us some great advice and he let me crawl all over his work in progress : a lovely Chianti red westy. He sells buses and the guy knows his stuff : check out his lovely 1971 Westfalia poptop, USA import over at his TheSamba.com page under his profile campmobile70. Don't forget to look for that rear quarter light window for me Simon!
Anyway, I went for the dented one figuring i could easily bash out those dents and strip the bumper of its paint. However almost as soon as i got back home i could not resist hacking off the old offending lump of iron and sticking this one on, a bit like a kid with a new pair of trainers. So pleased with the look even before i have cleaned it up, although our boy made a good start on sanding it down (see above)
Thursday, 29 March 2012
|Junior Banksy gets 'tagging' the bus|
If you have read any of the previous post or seen the shopping list it looks like its going to cost over £500 to pass the next MOT, leaving nothing for her paint job and nice little extra shiny chrome bits. Allready plans to go to Big Chill or Beatherder festivals are scrapped. However as i have started to do as much prep work before she goes in for welding (no way I'm welding myself, the dyspraxia and short attention span would spell disaster) i am beginning to think i may actually be able to enter into the 'show & shine' Barbara at our local show this summer : alive and vdubbin
In two weeks i have got to all the rusty bits in the body work and removed paint and rust with wire brush shank thingy on my drill and extra course sandpaper and then re sprayed in primer. A couple of the small rust spots revealed some larger holes and gaps that required filling ( My thoughts are that any of these i can fill well will mean more time before i need to completely replace all the less than perfect panels)
I will try and give a step by step instructions on how to repair holes and dents and show you what a complete amateur can achieve. To be honest the results are not perfect but are a major improvement on some areas that were looking like a medieval cheese grater before and should get me through the MOT at least.
First of all i have to pay thanks to my lovely neighbours who have put up with me doing most ofthis work on the street. I have had no complaints and people have seemed to enjoy watching the changes take place...i have also never been 'so up' on the street gossip. However if you are doing this kind of work outside your front door in public space its important to keep it clean and safe.
Its also a good idea to get yourself a club membership sorted, my local club membership entitles me to discounts at a wide range of car part shops/suppliers. I avoid the big firms and prefer to use a local business that will offer you better advice and support in my view.
Rules for working on the bus on the street :
1. All drilling, electric sanding and grinding to be done between 11am and 3:30pm
2 .Keep tools, leads and chemicals tidy and out of the way
3. Sweep up as you go and use dust extractors on the equipment.
4. The body fillers are very noxious and for some reason reminded me of my days as a punk(?!) Strictly speaking you should not be filling this stuff on the street or let it's dust from sanding go down the drains, i don't want any dead dolphins on my conscience or get the toddler next door addicted to solvents.
5. I refrained from blasting out dubstep on the stereo whilst i worked.
How to fill a hole
|Barbara's back end gets some attention!|
Step 2. On the engine bay hatch above the small holes were filled with P38 which is easily sanded back to a smooth finish. I used small quantities of this noxious and nasty stuff and built up the filler so it was just proud of the metal surround. You need plenty of glossy cardboard to mix the stuff on (cornflake packet worked well) As it was hardening (which happens all to quickly so you have to work fast) you can trim off any excess filler. I used a razor blade which along with a donor card made the ideal 'spreader'. I wouldnt recommend using your platinum visa card however!
Step 3. Finally sound down the filler to a smooth finish level/flush with the surrounding metal. Any uneaven spots or 'craters' will soon be aparent when you spray with the primer after. If its not perfect its time to dig it all out and start again at step 1.
|Sanding down the filler|
|This gaping wound (below) on the rear wheel arch required 'bridging' and filling with aluminium mesh and required using the harder P40 filler over the top of the mesh and then finally a layer of P38.|
|Finally all patched up and ready to go!|
The clean up continues with the wheels today. I took of the old and i would guess by their condition, original, wheel hubs and ground off the old paint and rust. End result was a kind of 'scabby' or as they say in VW circles 'rat look' which i quite liked. May originally replace with some nice chrome baby moon hub caps, but quite pleased i have managed to retain the original bits of tin. (See below) All it cost me was a can of radiator paint and wire wool. Don't know if they look silly all freshly painted on such a tatty body? Looks a bit like the nerdy wimp kid with brand new trainers!
Wednesday, 21 March 2012
|Nephew Kie cleaning out the guttering with wire brush|
|Geting the rear hatch opened certainly helped get access to some of those nooks and cranies|
We begun by removing the paint and rust around some of the more coroded and crumbly bits of the old girl. The engine hatch (see below) in particular needed a lot of attention. The early bay hatch is a hard to find item and my thinking is that if i can get a couple more years out of it will be a bonus and give me more time to hunt a replacement.
|Engine hatch preperation|
Most of these holes are pretty small but under the rear wheel arch below the bench passenger seats was a larger corroded area that required some more medival treatment with the grinder. This hole will require some wire mesh to support the body filler but as the area is hidden from view it needent be pretty and i will probably just use the harder P40 and not bother with the top coat of P38 which sands down to a flat finish
|Grinding on the wheel arches, notice all the safety precautions|
|Keeping the unpaid labour working till sundown|
|Pop top before|
|Inside the circus tent! Rusty Hammocks tucked on the sides|
|The youngest bravely tests out the hammock|
Friday, 16 March 2012
Is yours here? Complete range of Early Bay commercials, lovely photos, includes hi tops, cabs, Kombi and Microbus. Some selected pages scanned in, will update.
|VW Commercial T2 Delivery Van|
|VW Commercial High Roofed Delivery Van|
|VW Commercial T2 Pick Up|
|VW Commercial Microbus|
|1970 VW Diagnosis|
Thursday, 15 March 2012
|Danbury Handbook, cover|
|Danbury Handbook, Pg 1|
|Danbury Handbook,Pg 2|
|Danbury Handbook,Pg 3|
|Danbury Layout Guide 1|
|Danbury Layout diagram|
|Taymar Grill, Boiler, Fryer instructions|
|Slimline Grill Instructions|
|Slimline double burner 'n' grill, parts list|
|We are cookin' on gas!|
After posting this on Early Bay forums i got a great responce from the Danbury purists and thanks to 'Danbury Dan' who posted a pic of his amazing collection of Danbury stuff (see below) collected over many years from ebay (More stuff on my watch list then!) Also tipped me off to where to find the original Danbury badges that are missing on Barbara.
Wednesday, 14 March 2012
Monday, 12 March 2012
|Roughly what Barbara will look like after the makeover|
A few 'tarty' additions such as front mounting the spare tyre, new chrome hubcaps and possibly wing mirrors will be the full extent of 'bling' on the bus. I would love some chrome bumpers, but i will have to wait for the lottery win (unlikely as i don't play the lottery)
One thing i am not going to do is a radical 'lowered' look. Yes i suppose its cool to look like your bus is hovering inches from the tarmac, but personally i think it spoils the look of buses. More importantly i love the high driving position and not having to worry about loosing the exhaust when passing the numerous 'sleeping police man'.
|A Merc 'Bush Taxi' from Gambia|
I have a fantasy idea of making the bus look like an African 'bush taxi'. A lot owners like to give their buses a 'history' by making them look like former ambulances/fire engines (some perhaps were originally designated like this) or in the case of panel vans creating vintage looking sign writing. Partly because of my love of Afro Funk (1970's African version of western funk and rare groove, exemplified by the like of Fela Kuti) and also because of my families West African roots, i thought this could be a unique look. However despite searching the Internet i cannot find an example of an African VW bush taxi (i should explain 'bush taxi' means a vehcile used to transport people and animals across the rough terrain in Africa) I am sure they were used as the T2 is still widely used across the developing world as a people transporter. The concept may well be limited to the interior of the bus that is certainly going to get a funky African look.....that will have to wait for another post for now. I have posted below a favourite Afro Funk mix that already gets a lot of plays on the buses stereo.
Saturday, 10 March 2012
|Me and the fam in 'Babs the bus|
On Friday the 9th of March 2012 i became the proud owner of this VW 'Early Bay' T2 Transporter, converted by Danbury in Chelmsford in '71 into a camper van after originally coming of the Wolfsburg production line in Germany in 1970.
After studying the extensive paper work that came with the bus i have already learnt a lot more of its history but hope to do an exhaustive 'forensic' study of its history later (The parts invoices alone are the thickness of a telephone directory).
|Lots of reading material came with the bus, they all have a lovely '70's smell!|
Very exciting to find all the original sales literature: handbook, original service books and hand typed layout plan by Danbury of the interior and its many lay out configurations.
|Babs in her raw, untouched state|
|The T25, more blocky than a T2 but still very cool, i still want one!|
However our wonderful neighbour Barbara (Hence the name change, Barbara called her Spitfire 'cos of the lovely noise she makes) who previously owned the bus kindly offered us a shared ownership arrangement....she gave me a set of keys, put me on the insurance and together we shared running costs. Was so excited when she was prepared to sell, i knew it was a difficult decision because she loves her so much, however we continue to share her and Barbara is looking forward to going to Latitude Festival and the Alive & V Dubbin VW club meet in her this summer so that took the 'sting' out of her decision!
|16,000 GENUINE MILES, AND SINCE 1994 WITH A RECON ENGINE MEANS SHE IS ONLY REALLY JUST RUN IN!|
BABS GOOD POINTS :
*Road Tax exempt 'heritage/classic' vehcile
*Untouched and unmolested. Not lowered or pimped up in any way ; original tape cassette stereo, Danbury interior with pop top roof.
*Three owners from new. Original owner from Essex had her from '71
to 2004, two more owners since then.
*Extensive paper work and all original documents prove she has been much loved.
*Instant membership of the 'cool club', grins of delight from schoolchildren and driving it very much acts as an anti depressant without any side effects.
*Always starts and has only broken down on me once and Barbara whose had her for several years has only had a couple of breakdowns and she has been used almost everyday.
*Always got somewhere dry and a proper bed to sleep in at Festivals.
BABS BAD POINTS :
*She's a little crinkly around the edges, but for a 40 year old she's still pretty gorgeous and nothing a bit of welding cant fix. (See post : job list)
*25 miles per gallon, but with my heavy foot its probably more like over thirty. Could be improved with a new carb set up or LPG conversion, but she will always be thirsty.
•Risk of turning into a vw bore/nerd (to late already perhaps)
*Er, that's it.
|£1,484 new in 1971! Wish i had a time machine!|
|Below is Barbara's 'birth certificate helpfully decoded from the very handy site http://vw-mplate.com. Although wierdly it lists planned production date May 1972, however the reg docs all indicate she is from 1971.|
|Model||Type 2 (T2) mod. 234(0) :
- Sliding door left
|Serial number||122 282|
|Planned production date||Thursday, 25 May 1972|
|Number for production planning
(temporary serial number)
|Type of engine||Type 1 (AD) - 1584cc, 37 kW (50 bhp DIN)|
|Type of transmission||Manual 4-speed gearbox|
|Interior color (doorpanels and seats)||51 - Dark Beige Leatherette